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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 22, 2011 8:15am-9:15am EDT

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for that. there's a study that i saw that showed that low-income women who are single mothers often go to community college after their children are born, and they almost always say it's because of the child, for the child. so i think you're quite right. >> we just have time for one more question. why don't we go way to the back. >> yes. two related questions. first is, how do you see this generation of 20-something idea officionados evolving into their 30s, 40s and beyond? and the second is, is there any other country you're aware of that is more quote-unquote advanced in the united states in terms of this phenomenon? >> uh-huh. i, look, i think most young men
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will get into their 30s, look around and decide, okay, you know, it's time to settle down. maybe it won't be until they're 40 or maybe a little older. i spoke to a young woman the other day who is in her late 30s and single and would very much like to settle down. and she told me of dating a 40-something guy who is now looking at himself in the mirror and going, oh, i see wrinkles, you know? she said there is a biological clock for men, too, it's just a different clock. and that may be true. you know, one thing, one question to ask is whether the men and women for that matter who have spent so much time on their own taking care of themselves and no one else, whether they will adapt easily to marriage. i think that's an open question. as for other countries, this, the success of women in school,
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as i mentioned, is something we're seeing all over the place. that's why i call it the new girl order. all over the developed world; in asia, in japan, korea, china, in be eastern europe, you know, everywhere where people go to universities, girls are doing better. now, how that's going to play out in those various countries, you know, i think it's really going to depend on individual cultures and how they deal with this. but i think that we will be seeing a collapse in fertility in a lot of those countries. as we already have. >> thank you, kay. thank you all for coming. [applause] >> thank you. >> the book is "manning up." [applause] >> visit to watch any of the programs you see here online.
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type the author or book title in the search bar on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can also share anything you see on easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. booktv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend with top nonfiction books and authors. >> up next on booktv, a panel from the 2011 los angeles times festival of books titled "history, identity and purpose: california, chicanos and beyond," with mario garcia and sal castro, daniel hernandez and miriam pawel, author of "the union of their dreams." this is about an hour. >> um, hello. thank you and welcome to usc and welcome to the los angeles times book festival. my name is hector tobar, i write a column for the los angelesmes,
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times. and, um, and i'm here tote moderate the panel, "history,id identity anden purpose: califora chicanos and beyond." and for this panel we have three authors, three books.. our fourth panelist, i'll tell, you a story about him in a bit, but he's missing right now inht action. we know that he's somewhere right now talking to somebody. [laughter] he's somewhere trying to convince someone of what's right and what's wrong. our three panelists here haveere three very, very different books that are about journeys throughg 20th century and 21st century history and 20th and 21st century latino and chicano identity. our first one, our first author -- i'll go from your right to left -- is mario t. garcia. mario t. garcia, his book is
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"blowout: sal castro and the chicano struggle for educationag justice." and now all these no, sir, too,o will be -- all these authors, too, will be available to sign and purchase their books. mario is a professor of studies in history at the university of california santa barbara. he is also the author of so many books, he doesn't really know how many they are.ny t [laughter] i was asking him, he said he's written 10-12 books. so, you know, and three of the most important ones are "desert immigration: the mexicans of el paso, 1808 of-1920," "memories of chicano history," "and the gospel of se czar chavez." so mario t. garcia is one of our panelists. you [applause] >> thank you very much, hector.> >> i'm going to go withintr introductions, and then i'll -- >> oh, okay. >> and i have to make a
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statement which i forgot to do of just sort of general housekeeping. our second panelist is daniel hernandez who is a former staff writer at the l.a. times and the l.a. weekly. he's a native of san diego, and his journalism's appeared in "the new york times," in the guardian and all things considered on national public radio. he's also currently a resident of mexico city where he works sometimes as an assistant news gatherer at the mexico city bureau of the los angeles times. he's a resident of coloniake t centro which i think is a story i'd like to hear. and the final author is miriam pawel, an award-winning editor. oh, i'm sorry, daniel's book is call -- is a beautifully-written
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book. p and our finalan panelist, i'mso sorry, is miriam pawel, an award-winning reporter and editor who spent 25 years working for newsday and the los angeles times. and she recently was an alicia patterson fellow and a john ber jacobs fellow, and her book is "the union of their dreams: power, hope and struggle in sue czar chavez's farm worker movement." of it's an amazing journey that wer follows the story of eight people who were inspired by cesaedr chavez and many of them eventually disillusionedally somewhat with the way theirione careers in that movement ended. but it's an amazing story thatis sort of takes on a couple of decades of critical california and american history. so those are our panelists. and as i was saying, these books are all encompassed as journey.
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for many of us ourselves have lived as californians, this europe incentive in -- journey in which latino identity sort of developed what a sense of being latino. mario, your character is not present in the room right now even though he said he would be. [laughter] he might show up any moment. sal castro is most well known to us as the person who inspirede the student walkouts on the east side in the 1960s. [applause] and i think that what i picked h up most in your book, it's essentially his it's an oral history, himin talking about his life, hishild childhood in mexico and in los angeles. in is that, you know, sal castro i'
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known to us as this person who enters l.a. history.ory when were the walkouts? >> '68. >> '68. you think of him as this person who just stood up suddenly and decided that, no, we cannot tak this anymore. you o know, the state of educats in south los angeles for blackls and latino students is terrible. we need to do something, and that this moment arose spontaneously.on but what we get reading your wonderful book, "blowout," is that, in fact, this man at that moment already had, right, decades of thinking about hisnkn role as an educator, thinking about his community and of being politically active. so can you tell us about his journey he undertook? is. >> yes, thank you, hector.isn' sorry i jumped the gun. in sal has spoken so many times in my class that i literally could give what i call sal castro'sasr
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stump speech. [laughter] i've heard it so many times. but i started this project somee ten years ago because i knew ofh the historical importance of sal, but i didn't know all of his life story. hec as hector pointed out, he's best known historically, but he should be known even better. he was the leader, the teacher,, one of the few mexican-americann teachers in the east l.a. public schools in the 1960s.0s he had lived the experiences of what had been called already in the early 20th century the mexican schools when thousands of mexican immigrants began to come into the united states in the early 20th century. their children had to attend throughout the southwest, including southern california, what were literally referred to as mexican schools. they were segregated schools, they were inferior schools. and worst of all, they were schools where teachers had lowsc expectations of their students. and that history goes well into the 20th century. and that leads to high dropout
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rates, low reading scores, lacko of promotion of kids going on to college, the tracking systemtem putting kids of mexican background, of latino background largely in vocational classes with the expectation that they're going to go right backto into the cheap labor marketts where their parents were working. this is what sal castroced experienced growing up in l.a., born in 1933. his father was sent back to mexico, part of the great deportation that was done in the 1930s. two mexicans living in the unitedin states under the idea that they were taking jobs from real americans even though they had been here for many years, b working in agriculture, working on the railroads, working in the mines, building the wealth of this country.ealt now the depression comes -- well, it sounds like today -- out they go. many of those sent back were u.s.-born children, mexican-americans that never should have been sent back.ou salng witnesses riots in 1943 in
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downtown los angeles where navy personnel randomly attacked young mexican-americans, especially the so-called soothe suiters. he graduated from cathedral high school because he also attendede catholic high school here in loe angeles in 152. went into the -- 1952. went into the military, was sent to the south. he saw the selling recase, it just added to his own witness. d he remembers growing up in l.a., mexican-americans along with african-americans could notans attend certain public swimming pools except for the day that they actually cleaned the poolsh hence the term "dirty mexican." they could not attend certain public parts, so he knew racism, he knew discrimination. he saw more of that in the armed services. on one stopover in dallas he had to change planes, and he's dressed in his u.s. military uniform, and they refused to serve him. he says, the waitress must still
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remember the alamo in dallas. t [laughter] comes back to college, gets his teaching credentials in l.a. in the early '60s. he's involve inside the kennedy campaign in 1960. mexican-americans organized whan we call viva kennedy clubs in support of jack kennedy.of so he's politically involved. as a young teacher, he's already confronting the racism in schools against latinos. at his first assignment atwitn belmont high school in downtown l.a. he notices that the kids are not really, they're notthe being encouraged, they're not -, they're being prevented in many ways from a role in studentt government. so he helps to organize some of these kids, and they organize themselves in what they -- they call themselves, they call themselves the t.m.s which stood for the tortilla movemento and they got elected, but that got sal in more hot water.
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they sent him to lincoln high school not knowing he would cause even more [laughter] at lincoln high school from '64 to '68, again, he sees the problems in the schools. se he knows that the problems areos not the students even though the schools suggest that the problems are the students themselves, their parents, their culture. sal knows that that's all bs, and he talks with the students, he dialogues with them. and he comes to the conclusion,- as the students also come to the conclusion, that only a dramatic action will kind of shake things up and bring attention to the problems in these schools.ring and the problems are not the students, it's the schools themselves and the way they've approached the teaching of mexican-americans, basically,cal seeing them as not being able to achief at a high academic level and basically promoting them right back into the low-skilledl labor market.tima ultimately, then, that leads to what are referred to as the blowouts or the walkouts of 1968.over over 20,000 -- sal actually thinks it's even larger, maybe as high as 30,000, 40,000e
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students the first week of march in 1968 are out in the streets demonstrating and protesting this kind of treatment ofican mexican-americans in the. they shake the school system up. eventually, the educational, the board of education begins to react. some reforms begin to be achieved. parents become involved now. now and over a number of years some changes begin to take place that i don't have time to go into and maybe in the question and answer. sal paid the penalty for three months later he and 1 others -- 12 others are arrested, the so-called east f l.a -- l.a.13. c sal says had he been convicted, he would have served 150 years v in jail, and he would have jai become the chicano birdman of alcatraz. [laughter] sal is, above all, sal is aan dedicated and committed teacher over the years. he paid a penalty. they refused to allow him to
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come back to teach at lincoln high school. the students and the community came back, they staged a sit-in at the board of education inca late september of 1968 after sal was refused to come back to teach. and there's sal castro coming in right [cheers ande] applause] >> i think that, sal, you arrived late precisely so you'd get that entrance. [laughter] >> i always like to >> i always like to make grand entrances like that. aid, they stage a sit-in at the board of education, force the school boards to reinstate him. but after a year back at lincoln
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he's bounced around. in many '73 -- in '73 he's assigned back to belmont high school where he will continue his role as a committed teacher. one of the last -- we've worked for ten years more or less. i get 50 hours of taped interviews. i then wrote up the narrative. i refer to it as a testimonial in the latin america tradition. an oral history gives you information. a testimonial is done with the expectation that it will inspire you, the reader, to take up the cause. what cause in this case? the cause of educational justice not only for chicanos and other latinos but for many, many other kids in our schools that are not really being encouraged to go on to college. so that's -- i don't know how far, if you want sal to pick it up? >> let's move on back down here because i'll bring it back to sal because i think he's going to have a big impact. let's move it down here, give
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him a chance to get his bearings over there. [laughter] our next author is daniel hernandez. now, daniel has done something that a lot of us sort of dream of doing, and i think that mexico is this force in los angeles. i mean, the memory of mexico is here, many of us have roots in mexico, family in mexico. but a lot of people mexico is a mystery, and i think to you growing up the sense is in some ways parts of mexico were a mystery to you. but then you undertake this journey in 2002, right? and you go back in 2007 to live. and he discovers this amazingly complex city, the center where there's everything from crazy wars between emo, and the non-emos. so tell us about this journey and the wonderful book you've written. >> okay. thank you, hector, thank you to the festival of books for this
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invitation. it's really great to be here on this panel. so my book started out, i try to pinpoint in the book a little bit where my fascination or my intrigue with mexico city came out because i had no connection, really, growing up to the center of mexico. my parents are from tijuana, my grandparents are from the north. so we don't really have any bloodline down into the center or the south of mexico. and so growing up on the border in san diego, going back and forth to tijuana i kind of had this sort of dual, dual understanding of what it meant to be mexican and a mexican-american. i went to college, and when i was at berkeley, i remember meeting a girl who told me she was from mexico city. we're sitting there talking, and, you know, somewhere on the
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south side of berkeley, and i told her, oh, you know, that's cool, you're from there? my parents are mexican, you know, they're from tijuana. and this girl told me, oh, you're not mexican. [laughter] she's like, you're not mexican. that's not mexico. [laughter] really? really? because i always thought that, i always thought i was mexican. [laughter] that's who i thought i was. i mean, that's how i was perceived to the world, and that's how i was perceived in san diego, you know? we would sometimes go when we were little to my mom always liked talking us to the nice beach in san diego, not the mexican beach. she thought, you know, we can go to coronado. so we'd go there, and i remember every now and then we would face, we would get slurs and be discriminated against there, yet we always would go to that beach, and that was very instructive for me as well. so i thought, man, the surfers in coronado always called us mexican. i don't understand why --
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[laughter] so, and here was a mexican girl, and she was blond, and she was, she had amazing red hair and blue eyes, and i'm like, wow, you're mexican? [laughter] it was a do you dual you're noto that tripped me out. so i thought i'm going to go and check it out. so out of school, like, i got a job and, i got offered an amazing job, actually, with miriam to be a metro reporter at the l.a. times. and they wanted me to start right after school. and i said, no, give me the summer. i want to, i want to take a little bit of a break, i want to give myself a break between school and working. and that experience just, just flipped my entire life. i remember i landed, and i was -- i saw a landscape that i could not have ever imagined. this enormous bowl of gray, flat, spiky concrete smog miness.
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[laughter] it just, i mean, i'm like -- i'm from the beach, you know? we're close to people, and it just completely floored me. and the smell, this like smell of, like, corn and oil and toxicity -- [laughter] and that just, man, there are 20 million mexican knows here? what is going on here? like, what is going on? and i stayed for the first couple of weeks in a neighborhood called -- [speaking spanish] if anyone knows, any natives here? a few? okay, cool. so you guys know this huge wholesale market where all the produce and the goods come and then spread out. so i stayed right there with a friend of a friend of a friend of my dad's kind of thing. and they're like, don't stay out past 11 -- don't stay out past
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10 p.m. if you go out anywhere, don't come home, stay where you are. when you're on the metro, put your wallet and all your valuables if your front pockets. don't talk to strangers. if someone tries to tell you come this way, don't go. don't get a cab on the street. i had all these rules thrown at me, and i had all this instruction about risk and can aversion and danger. and i remember just sliding in to this culture and being really seduced and intoxicated by the sense that here was a place that had been here for hundreds of years and was, it was as foreign to me as tokyo could be. you know? and i felt at the same time so drawn to it that when i came to l.a. and i started working as a reporter, i just was always thinking about mexico and mexico city and the connections that we could make between l.a. and mexico city. so i think that really informed my reporting and the kind of
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stories that i was going after here in l.a. and i was able in many ways while i was here in l.a. working to -- i tried to think about the connectivity and think about how borders could be criss-crossed and blended and merged within the person and within the individual and within the household and within the neighborhood and the street and the community and the block. and so i went and i covered the 2006 election when i switched over to the weekly. switched over the l.a. weekly in march '06, and then like a week later, march 25th happened. the big march in down town l.a. it was just that really -- i was like, oh, my god, everyone's here, and they're standing, and they're wearing white, and they're marching, and they're making their presence known. so i convinced, at that point i convinced the l.a. weekly to let me go cover the election in mexico because i was hearing
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about this guy, lab -- la ro door who was talking about the poor, and he was forming, trying to form, like, a political power base completely around addressing the deep, violent social inequality that exists in mexico. so i went, and be i covered it, and i did this piece. and then i started hearing from editors who were saying go back and do a book. and i was hesitant at first because i was enjoying my time here in the l.a., i was liking my work, i was really inspired by los angeles. i was getting -- i felt like i had so many more stories to delve into and so many more questions. but at a certain moment i thought it was time for me to really get out as much as i could out of my comfort zones and really, really explore a different place. so i went and moved to l.a. in
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2007. a good omen here. [laughter] and i just started going out, i guess. people ask, like, how did it happen? i just started going out. i went to neighborhoods where i was told not to go. i went to parties that i was told i would not get in. i went to markets that i was told i would not make it out. [laughter] and i just, i just really tried to -- and then i would come home and write. i would come home and write and just everything and try to put everything, everything i saw, everything i saw i would be on the train on the subway which they told me to the to take, i would just be writing down words and phrases, and i was so stimulated. i felt like i was constantly, like, on this acid trip. overstimulation, like, on every level. and it just inspired my writing, and the book gradually came together. i would post little bits of something, a photo on my blog,
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an impression, and then stuff would come out of that. and my editor said, you know, you're young, you're 27, 28, whatever, just focus on young people while you can, while you can still sort of insert yourself a little bit in some of these spaces. and that was, that worked for me because it was fun. i ended up having a great time. i'd go to goth clubs and parties, and i would be confronted with this, so what are you? and i still get it even today. are you, like, gringo? like, what are you? [laughter] are you from tijuana? what's going on? [speaking spanish] oh, you're mexican, just like us. or it would be like, oh, okay, so you're a gringo. [laughter] and i would sometimes get that in the span of a day, literally, i would get this polar reaction. so that's the book, and i'm so glad i get to share it with you
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and with people and with my friends and family, and in particular to the young people who, as you know, if you've been there, they're so generous and open, and they literally will bring you in. they will literal literally, physically bring you into their personal space. and that is such a shift for me. even coming from the west coast of california which has an undercurrent of, a subterranean threat of mexicanness that we all live in, there's still not that complete sense that the family and the community and the street is most important, you know? and so that has just been so enriching for me, and that's the book. >> yeah. and if you read daniel's book, it has that feeling of just following him along, you know? like where is he going to take us next, and it really is just an amazing ride, so i highly recommend it along with all the book on this panel. now, miriam, we have your book which is about a person who's at the center of it, cesar chavez, who, obviously, died in '93 and started this movement, and he's
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sort of been cannonnized. he's sort of a secular saint in many ways. you know, every city has a caesar chavez boulevard or avenue. and yet you follow these people who sort of joined him on his struggle. and they build a movement. but the movement -- and the movement really is about bringing powerful to this -- power to this community and subcommunity of people, farm workers, and really it's about this larger sense of power because cesar was such an important chicano icon. but yet you show that this building a movement is something that takes work, and it takes patience, and it takes alliances, and it takes -- and it just becomes this very, very sort of complicated, messy at times, disillusioning, you know, there are victories, and then the victories are sort of taken away. tell us about this journey that people who went with cesar, and tell us about your book. >> you know, one of things that occurred to me while as you said these books are all very
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different, they have something in common which is they're all about people who felt tremendously passionate about what they were doing. and to some degree all three of them are about people who wanted to make a difference in the world and to change the world. and i came to -- >> [inaudible] >> a little louder. >> sorry. i came to this from sort of a different route than the other panelists, and i was at the l.a. times, as hector said, and i spent about a year doing a series there about the united farm workers' union today and what had become of it. and in the course of doing that sort of became very curious about the history and about why the ufw today was really not a major union or a force or a force in the world of farm workers. and if you go into the fields today and ask people who cesar chavez was, they think you're talking about the boxer. and, you know, that, and it's sort of become a punchline, but t really, you know, it's a sad
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sort of commentary on the conditions in the fields today. so i became very curious about what had happened and sort of where had this movement veered off the tracks. and as i began to talk to people who were involved in it, i met the sort of very amazing group of eclectic people who all sort of became caught up in what i think in many ways was the last great social movement of the last century. and today, i mean, young people -- and, you know, unless you're old enough to remember the great boycott, certainly outside of california and outside of the southwest, people really do not know who cesar chavez was. and yet there is a generation of people who did go through that and did grow up with that who are act vuses all -- activists all over the country. and as i met these people who had sort of committed their life and worked for free, most of them, for many years in order to
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try to do something to change the conditions in the fields and to bring some degree of dignity and respect to people who were, you know, working in the most difficult and oppressive conditions probably of any sort of one group of people, i met all these people who were literally haunted 30 years later by why they had not been able to succeed. and what had gone wrong and why the ufw did not become a sort of really permanent, sustained union for farm workers. and the -- while cesar chavez was the central character and in some ways is the center, and my book is described as a book about cesar chavez. it's really, as hector said, not a book about chavez per se, it is about the movement he created and the people who were drawn to it. and i chose to tell the story through eight characters because, for a couple of reasons. i mean, one, they represent the spectrum of people who were
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drawn to this and who made it be able, sort of were responsible for the degree of success that it had in changing conditions. and in sort of changing life for a generation. so there is the characters in the book some of them are farm workers, there's a minister, there are lawyers, there are students. because it was partly this ability that chavez had to draw these people into this collaboration that accounted for their ability to succeed. so that 1975, 17 million people in the country stopped pieing grapes in order to -- buying grapes in order to get farm workers -- there are people here waving their hands saying they were some of them. you know, it was a bell i can't -- the idea that you could send farm workers across the country who would uproot their families, some of them didn't speak english, most of them had not been outside of california, had little education and were willing to go around the country and sort of just ask for money. they hustled everything, was the
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term, and it was basically i'm a farm worker, and i'm, you know, 2,000 miles from home, and all i'm asking you to do is not buy grapes. it was a very, very powerful movement, and it drew people in. and yet my book sort of chronicles both the rise and the fall. there were tremendous successes. california to this day has the only law on the books that gives farm workers the right to join a union and protects their ability to do that. farm workers and domestic workers are the two categories of people who were excluded from all the sort of basic rights that most other workers have under the national labor relations act. >> wow. >> so california has some sort of, you know, major victories. and chavez at the point where he needed to make the transition from being a charismatic leader of a movement into being a labor leader of a functioning union was sort of unable to do that, and the book explores a lot of the reason for that and explores that through the eyes of these people as they went through the
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experience. because the other thing that sort of -- when i, as i met people and talked to them, it was a little like the story the blind man and the elephant, you know, where all the blind men feel a different part of the elephant, and they describe a totally different animal. that was kind of what happened within the movement. so depending on where you were, your perspective was different, and by telling these stories in human and compelling ways, i wanted you to be able to see as the reader what it was like to go through this experience. so you were sort of seeing events from the perspective of people who believe what they see is happening, but as the only in addition sent sort of reader/narrator, you have a sense of where this is all going. a few words about cesar chavez to sort of end on. mario and i were talking about this on the way over here. he is an incredibly important figure in history, in american history. i think in some ways because he has been so, because there's
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been so much biography about him and because he's not been examined on a much more sort of critical and deep level that that, in fact, has done him a disservice. that he is a hero and that writing about his life and all of its complexity doesn't take away from his accomplishments or his place in history or his importance. but sort of conveys to people the sense that -- and i think this is an important sort of lesson for young people too -- that heros are human and that heros have flaws, and that doesn't, you know, that doesn't diminish their accomplishments. so there's been until fairly recently a real sense of wanting to shy away on the part of, i think, both academics and journalists about writing about chavez in any way other than -- >> celebratory. >> yeah, exactly. and he's a much more complicated
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figure than that, and he was brilliant and brought about really significant change not only for farm workers, but in many ways for all of the people who joined the movement so that his legacy today is much more outside of the fields than it is in the fields. >> right. >> you know, my book only deals with the part of his work that was part of the farm worker movement. i mean, the farm worker movement was related to and important in the broader chicano movement, but very separate from it. >> right. >> and, in fact, there was a great deal of tension from time to time. there are activists from that period who were not happy with chavez's reluctance to embrace their cause. so there was some techs there. tensions there. but he's a fascinating character, and the people around him were. and the people who were drawn to it. and for me, you know, i have yet to meet anyone -- as hector said, many of the people who were involved in the movement and the people in my bookended
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up disillusioned and, and sad and angry and left on either voluntary or involuntary terms. there were a lot of purges within the movement. for many years people did not talk about any of that. >> wow. >> they kept it inside. and i think that i had good timing in some sense that i came along at a point where people felt, well, it's history, and can it's okay to talk about this now. and there are sort of a lot of lessons in the book about that, too, i think, about how do you sort of participate in a movement and how do you have a democratic movement and still get things done, you know? many i've talked to a lot of groups who have read the book in sort of a case study, how do you allow for dissent in a way that is constructive and that doesn't, that doesn't punish people for doing that? so people left on very kind of mixed terms. i have never met anyone who
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worked for the movement for even a very brief period of time who does not say that it was the most important thing in their lives. >> right. >> you know, that if not for cesar chavez and for the movement, they would not be doing what they are doing today. there were people who were teachers, environmentalists, labor leaders, so that's what i tried to capture, and i told the story through the people because i wanted you to, you know, be able to really care about the people because, ultimately, it's a very human story. >> right. and for me as a reader, i mean, a lot of what cesar chavez's life is, it's about the awakening of the civic spirit. in fact, he had a career even before he started organizing farm workers. he did voter registration, he worked with the cso in san jose trying to get ha tee knows to vote -- latino to vote. and it's important that we're mature enough now that we can
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look at all of our history and the passage of time, you know, in the an unvarnished way. i think i'm going to throw the mic over to -- metaphorically speaking, over to sal. and then after you finish your comments, i'm going to throw it open to questions from the audience. so, sal, we were talking a little bit about you before you got here. mario was telling us a little bit about your life story. and the book that you two produced together. tell us a little about -- and there was a question that sort of came up that mario brought up when he was speaking about what the legacy was of this movement that you were involved in which we now learned is part of your own sort of previous life story as someone who was interested in politics, someone who had been an educator, who had seen the tensions and the unmet promise of the schools. but what about the present? you know, what do you think is the legacy of that time that youlied through that's documented so wonderfully in this book? how is l.a. education different
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because of that movement? >> well, before i get into that, i've got to get into my introduction, god damn it. anyway -- [laughter] [applause] the real reason you invited me is because you wanted to see what a real movie star looked like. [laughter] that's supposed to be me there. the movie itself was actually produced simultaneous -- >> the mic's out, they're recording this, so you're on television right now. >> oh, that's great. [speaking spanish] >> c-span. but you have to speak in the microphone. you're missing your moment here on national cable. >> gee, that's wonderful. >> free cable. [laughter] >> all right. all right, so anyway, yeah, so, it took about ten years. so the producer and director asked me ten years before the project would i help them with the project, the movie, "walkout," the story of the kids
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walking out. just as important, by the way, as what cesar was doing in the fields because his program was in the fields, the pardon farms. this thing was an urban movement where all of a sudden it was discovered there were millions of mexicans across the southwest and across the country period. anyway, getting back to this. they asked if i would help them, i said, sure, on one condition: that my love interest be either sal ma hayek or eva longoria. [laughter] the next thing is who's going to play me? i was a good looking bastard when i was young. so they said how about benjamin bratt? be he couldn't get out of a long-term contract on tv, so they said how about marc anthony? it's not going to be a musical.
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[laughter] so then they decided on mike pena. mike pena is a hell of an actor, chicano kid from chicago. he had done a lot of stage work in new york -- it's okay, buddy, we can put it away. leave it on the floor. and he had done a lot of work in new york and also he was in "crash" that won an academy award blockbuster. he was a good mimic. he picked up on my mannerisms. so good he was later in the two-man movie with nicolas cage, the twin towers. so the next thing he did was the shooter which was, which was he played a part of an fbi agent who was a forensics expert. then he came up to the high rent district. he started working with meryl streep and robert redford in a movie, then he did another movie as another iraq veteran.
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anyway, the project itself was based on a documentary that was done, and i hope you notice i said project. i'm mr. hollywood now. [laughter] but -- thank you. it was a four-part series on the civil rights movement, chicano civil rights movement. you know, we're too used to when you hear civil rights you hear, malcolm x and you're right, you're absolutely right. stokely carmichael and rosa parks and, of course, dr. martin luther king. but there was a parallel movement. there was a movement, how about desegregating the schools? a movement about education. you know, the march on selma, the bloody sunday march on selma between montgomery and selma actually occurred three years to the day of the second walkout of the kids. the police beat up, the police beat up the marchers, of course,
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in selma. guess what? the police beat up high school students in classrooms and in halls. and what were their weapons? books. so it's interesting how the movement is a parallel. in fact, thurgood marshall convened with a fellow by the name of chavez who were working on the second desegregation case in texas. we aren was the lawyer who helped get me out of jail when they threw me in jail. and, of course, senator robert kennedy also contributed to getting me out of jail. it was a national story. in fact, talking about cesar, three hours after senator kennedy was in delano with cesar, three hours later he was with the kids taking ..ton saw the documentary and saw the poster. that's supposed to be me here
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with the long nose. they said, hey, i have a long nose. invite that dude to the white house. so, wow, i got invited in 1996 to the white house. damn. hey, born in l.a., don't steal nothing. [laughter] so i see president, i see president kennedy, he could have been a tight end for the university of arkansas. he came in with a great big smeal, and i didn't see monica lewinsky anywhere, but he had a smile on his face. [laughter] so, you know, i had to tell him, and this is the serious part. we're getting down to what hector asked me. i had to tell him in 1996, my president. i thought i was a -- [speaking spanish] i guess. but, you know, my president, we have the dubious distinction of leading the nation in high school dropouts, college dropouts and teen pregnancies. you know, if today, 2011,
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president obama would invite me to the white house, i would have to tell him exactly the same thing, the same litany, you know? and proof of that, okay, it's time. i've got to hang it up. but, you know, this book, another book by ortiz at ucla, they did a study by accident. in 1962 or 3 there was some money available to do a huge study in los angeles and san antonio interviewing mexican families on their income, their educational status and so forth and so on. well, they forgot the project. they left it downstairs at the ucla library. all of a sudden, they rediscovered it recently in 2006 or 7. and they said, wow, let's re-examine, let's go back to the families that we talked to before and talk to the grandchildren and so on. what did they find from this book? they found that in 1962 --
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[speaking spanish] what did they find? today 2011,. [speaking spanish] [laughter] i'll end it because dr.s garcia and tobar are nervous. [laughter] you know, i'm such a great believer in education that long ago when i was a young teacher -- and i was young once. i walked in to the lincoln high office of the principal, and i looked to the side, and there's the student body vice president. had to be a young lady by the name of anita. she was in the principal's office crying. and i said, anita, what's wrong? and then i look in, and her parents in there. i said, damn, she's really done something wrong. you've got problems. the principal spots me, he says, mr. castro, you speak spanish, don't you? i said, no, sir, just german, chinese and russian. [laughter] i've got the map of mexico all over my face.
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yes, i speak spanish. [laughter] we have a problem here. anita has been offered a full scholarship to on si debittal college. if you know lincoln heights, it's only three miles away. but the stipulation says anita must live on campus for the fist two years -- first two years. well, the parents are adamant she not leave home until she's married. occidental college has dug in their heels, and the parents have also. do you think you might tell the parents something that might persuade 'em to let her go? the because she's -- it was 5,000 in 1965. it's about 225,000 today. completely everything paid. even advance programs. anyway, i said, well, anita, how bad do you want to go? i want to go, mr. castro. i said how much english do your parents understand? none at all. i said, keep a straight face. [laughter]
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i said -- [speaking spanish] [speaking spanish] >> if you don't understand spanish, learn it. [laughter] no, no. [applause] no, what i told 'em, i said this, you know, this grant is a federal grant. you don't fool with the federal government here in this country. if you don't accept it, they're going to fine you, and also they're going to throw you in jail, so you might as well accept et. [laughter] they did. and the bottom line story on that is that she went on to get advanced scholarships and also
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got her ph.d.. finish and she taught for many year at cal state long beach and recently retired, and now has, of all things, a bookstore. so thank you very much. muchase gracias. [applause] >> we have microphones open here for questions. >> hi. i came all the way from miami. i'm a gringo from miami. [laughter] but i was involved in the ufw back in the late '60s, early '70 just as an activist. i wasn't a farm worker. the only time i was a farm worker was in israel, and then we ate grapes so much we got sick because we were allowed to eat those. i remember when cesar chavez came to miami twice for two farm
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worker fiestas, and it was amazing. we had all these people. it was at an upscale catholic school right on biscayne bay, and it was packed with people. and somebody said look at all these limousine liberals. but, okay, i've got to come down to my question now. sorry, i couldn't help myself. i know that dolores huerta was the leader of the ufw after chavez. is she still the leader? >> dolores worked with chavez back in the 1950s on organizing and doing voter registration. she went with him when he began to organize farm workers in the '60s. she left the ufw while he was still alive and then came back. she has her own foundation now. she's not been associate with the the ufw. she has a -- >> is there a chance that another charismatic leader who's well organized can lead the ufw? >> hopefully, one day there's
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someone in the fields who will follow the task. >> because it's very important. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> our next question. >> sal, i'm david kip, and i run a little lending library and used book shop in liberal heights, and i'm wondering what, what books did you have good luck with teaching kids in the high school jazzed about reading and history? >> okay. the fist one that i got turn -- first one that i got turned on was north of mexico by carrie mcwilliams. that was very heavy. and what i use for teaching, a very important book by leonard pith called decline of california. you've got today hand knows -- [speaking spanish] but beautiful book, tremendous book. i got a lot of things out of that. and then dr. rudy acuna did a
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couple of middle school books, and they were very good. they're out of print, american book company did 'em. so what i did with those, i just mihm mimeographed -- can you believe it? how long ago? >> today, hell, it'd be great. i still have one copy. i don't know, maybe because it's 27 years and beyond i'd have to ask these legal folks. if somebody ever needed it -- >> what's it called? >> it was called mexican-american chronicle. still available. and they came up with some pretty good stuff. and so i got something like that. if you were to hear me speak, you'd know that one day i've got to write that book. but i don't have the patience. but we'll figure something out. [laughter] the reason you asked that, and it's very important, folks, we've been involved, we as mexicans, okay, now, let me let it all hang out. we as mexicans have been involved in every war the united states has been involved in including the revolutionary war,
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including the revolutionary war. not only did the french help here in the revolutionary war, washington, la pierre and so forth, they didn't bring money. mexicans did. in fact, they brought thousands of troops headed by a history professor from the university of mexico. we don't get that recognition. in fact, not only did he come with troops, but he came with 44 vessels that blockaded the southern parts, you know, the katrina parts, biloxi, new orleans and so forth. he blocked that area so the british could not come invade from the south. gave washington a chance towards recuperating at valley forge. every -- there is no american cemetery throughout the world whether it be normandy, iraq, there is no american military cemetery where there's not a
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mexican buried in it, including gettysburg. give me a hand for that. [applause] >> there was somebody there waiting on this side here. sir? next question here on the right-hand side. >> the question is for sal castro. sal, i'm a chicano from redondo beach. remember that? you were very involved with camp kramer in malibu. i was wondering if you could give us an update on what's happening with that effort and whether you continue to bring leadership to the young people in the community can. >> thank you very much. thank you for asking. we've been in existence since 1963 off and on, but, you know, as soon as the budget crunch hit, we were cut off. the l.a. city schools cut us off. so the very last conference we had was in october of 2008. so we're looking for funds now. we're sending out all kinds of solicitations. we hope to be able to start
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again because that conference is so effective. it's only a three-day conference at malibu, campus kramer in malibu. the fanciest jewish summer camp in southern california. it's only three days, friday, saturday and sunday, but so effective that they did a study, a five her year study of the e fact on the kids. 87% of the kids that go through it wind up not only going to college, but graduating from college. that's how effective it is. [applause] >> i'm going to have to give the five-minute warning, so we have time for two more questions we'll take. sir? >> yeah. i'm a retired high school teacher, retired in 2001, and i've been taking classes since 2001. it's a predominantly latino campus, i would say 90%, and i've been appalled. there's a saying in the history, the more things change, the more they remain the same. and i've been absolutely appalled at the conditions on the campus vis-a-vis teaching
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quality, administrative quality. i'm sure you read, hector, the times' series on the ripoffs in the rebuilding of the schools, mission had a vice president who was sending a lot of money to her own company. anyhow, to me it's basic racism. the latino kids are getting screwed at that college big time. and i would like to know your thoughts on this. the more things change, the more they remain the same, sal. i don't see any difference between now at mission college and what you went through at lincoln high school in the 19 1960s. so i'd like the panel to respond to this. what the hell's going on in this city? >> you want me to take a shot at it? >> daniel, do you want to sort of comment on -- >> no, i'm enjoying. [laughter] >> just a very quick comment. i mean, i think things -- nothing ever remains the same.
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the walkouts did force some changes -- bilingual education, more chicano studies in the schools, more chicano-latino teachers and administrators, we have more, we have several chicano-latinos on the board of education. to me as a historian, what the problem is that the educational system in many ways is still tied in this to our economic system. and in that economic system from a historical perspective, it suggests that mexicans and other latinos have been primarily prized in this country as pools of cheap labor. consequently, the educational system which should, in a way, combat that in many ways augments that. so here you have a situation where education rather than being a panacea for our social problems in a way adds to them. those schools through the tracking system, for example, as i said earlier are producing sten


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